Leading ecommerce companies are pulling out all stops to ensure that their festival sales are a thumping success. The two main players in the ring, Amazon and Flipkart, are trying to outdo each other in the popularity front to ensure better conversion. Both companies are looking at keeping their mobile versions light for a better user experience.
What is new?
Flipkart has collaborated with companies that are behind some of the top web browsers to bring out its light mobile website.
“We reached out to Google Chrome — and then went to other browsers. What has happened in the last nine months, in order to reach out to as many customers as possible, we worked with browsers like UCWeb and Opera Mini,” confirms Amar Nagaram, VP of engineering at Flipkart.
The hard work has paid off, says Nagaram.
“Before we launched Flipkart Lite, we realized that our mobile site was actually not converting as much as our app. The amount of effort we were putting in on both the website and the app and the returns on the respective channels were not even comparable,” he said.
Things are better now, “On our previous mobile site, people used to spend 70 seconds — now people are spending close to four minutes. People are engaging with the mobile site more.”
Likewise, Amazon has also launched its light site. Amit Agarwal, head of Amazon India, says that the mobile site works perfectly in mid-range phones. He says,
“If you take a low-spec feature phone and try to download the Amazon app from the app store, it actually downloads a different app which is less than 2Mbs. It’s the lightest e-commerce app out there.”
This is mainly to reach the suburban and rural parts where 3G and 4G are yet to gain traction.
Analysts are not too impressed. Rutvik Doshi, director of Inventus (India) Advisors, a venture capital company feels that companies can do their lightest, but conversion and sales depends solely on the country’s economy. He says,
“When it comes to purchasing power, only about 50-100 million Indians have that luxury. Unless the GDP of the country grows at 10% over the next 5-10 years, it’ll be tough to see India matching the kind of numbers that you saw in China.”
So unless people get wealthier, all the light apps might just be shots in the dark.